Almost 1,000 farmers and guests will come together early next month for Michigan Farm Bureau's (MFB) 94th Annual Meeting, Dec. 3-5 in Grand Rapids. As the culmination of the organization's annual policy development process, the meeting is built around defining Farm Bureau's direction and priorities for 2014. Themed "Race to Engage," this year's annual meeting will challenge the organization's grass-roots members to deepen their involvement and assert their voice.
Policy & Issues
Most attendees will begin their week with issue briefings in the morning of Dec. 3. Farm Bureau staff experts and guest speakers will brief members on water use, transportation, labor and immigration, health care and wetlands regulation. Policy development deliberations begin that afternoon, with members addressing a diverse slate of issues, from urban farming and broadband access to wetland regulations and road maintenance funding.
Nearly 500 delegates representing Michigan's 67 county-level Farm Bureaus will consider 124 proposed resolutions consolidated by MFB's 20-member Policy Development Committee from 952 measures submitted by county Farm Bureaus. Adopted state resolutions will become MFB's 2014 marching orders. Approved national resolutions will be offered for consideration by the American Farm Bureau Federation.
Sanilac County dairyman and MFB President Wayne H. Wood will deliver his 13th annual address at the Dec. 3 President's Luncheon. In recounting the previous year's accomplishments and looking forward to the next, Wood's address will set the stage for several state officials planning to speak with Farm Bureau members throughout the meeting.
Michigan Governor Rick Snyder will reprise his popular "agriculture town hall" presentation, addressing questions from—and posing them to—Farm Bureau members at the Dec. 3 annual banquet.
Jamie Clover Adams, director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, will speak with delegates about the state's Right to Farm Act and its implications for urban agriculture. Department of Environmental Quality Director Dan Wyant will speak with delegates about the DEQ's wetlands regulations and how they coexist with federal-level conservation practices under the purview of the Natural Resource Conservation Service.
Also expected are Keith Creagh, director of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, and Fred Poston, dean of Michigan State University's College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.